It is official. There will be no NHL from December 22-27 due to COVID-19 issues. Other games have already been postponed because some teams were heavily affected by the virus. What does this mean for the rest of the season?
COVID-19 isn’t just affecting NHL games till Christmas. Other games have been postponed before this. For example, the New York Rangers had their game against the Ottawa Senators postponed. The game was originally scheduled for November 20, 2021. This didn’t happen because of the outbreak of COVID-19 within the Senators’ organization.
Ottawa was scheduled to play the Nashville Predators on Thursday and then play the Rangers that Saturday. All three were postponed due to 10 of the Senators’ players and assistant coach Jack Capuano testing positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days. No rescheduling date has been set for these games.
Now, there is no hockey for several days. What a bummer! The Rangers, who played their last game on Friday, December 17. 2021, won’t get to play till December 29, 2021 at the earliest. They are scheduled to play against the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m. ET. Who knows if this is even happening?
Is the NHL Season in Jeopardy?
There is a chance that the NHL season may be canceled. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, approximately 50 games were postponed due to the virus. How are these games going to be made up? Originally, the month of February was limited with gameplay because of the Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to withdraw from the Olympics due to COVID. This will definitely help the NHL out in figuring out make-up games for those already postponed. It is now up to the NHL, with the withdrawal from the Olympics, to make sure all 82 games are salvaged for a full season of hockey.
Yes, it is true that there will be a lot of disappointed NHL players with not going to the Olympics, as well as some disappointed fans, this means more NHL. The season may not need to be extended now, with games going into the month of May instead of playoff hockey taking place during this time. Normally, the season ends approximately 1-2 weeks into the month of April, so this season, it will be extended by two weeks. The end of the NHL season finishes at the end of April.
Season Saved vs Season Canceled
From what things look like, there is a good chance the NHL will be able to finish their season as planned. The only thing that is really holding them back is if there will be a COVID extension. This would mean that either more strict protocols will take place while continuing regular-season games as scheduled. Part of this would entail daily COVID testing for all players.
Another thing would be if more outbreaks take place or the NHL just wants to be safe where more games get postponed. This would be hard to overcome, even though they do have the whole month of February to work with. Of course, this is the shortest month of the year. Figures.
The best-case scenario would be that all games resume on December 28, 2021, right after Christmas break. Then, February would be used as a month of make-up games, with a few other days spread out throughout the rest of the season. Now, it is just a waiting game to see if the NHL will continue or if there is more agony for the fans to wait. Christmas is the season for giving, so give fans their hockey!
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